EVANSVILLE 8, No. 21 KENTUCKY 4
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The University of Evansville baseball team exploded for five runs in the sixth inning to grab a four-run lead, and relievers Matt Netherton and Tom Heithoff made it stand up, as the visiting Purple Aces doubled up the nationally-ranked University of Kentucky Wildcats, 8-4, on Wednesday at Cliff Hagan Stadium in Lexington, Kentucky.
After UK used single runs in each of the first four innings to build a 4-3 lead against UE starter Seth McCabe, Netherton (1-1) kept it a one-run game by shutting down the Wildcat offense with three scoreless innings of two-hit relief. His teammates would then give him his first career mound victory with a sixth-inning explosion off of sophomore right-hander Alex Meyer, a typical weekend starter for the Wildcats and a projected first-round pick in the 2011 Major League Baseball draft.
Freshman shortstop Eric Stamets began the sixth inning with a four-pitch walk. He then proceeded to steal second and third base against Meyer (2-2) to put a runner at third base with no one out. After a walk to Heithoff and a hit-by-pitch to junior infielder Cody Fick, junior outfielder Greg Wallace cleared the bases with a three-run triple down the right field line to give UE a 6-4 lead. Sophomore infielder Trentt Copeland then followed with a first-pitch home run to left field, his second of the year, to push UE's lead to 8-4 and chase Meyer from the game.
Heithoff would eventually move from the field to the mound in the bottom of the seventh inning after a lead-off double by Kentucky, but he would yield just a one-out single in the eighth inning in tossing three shutout innings to record his second save of the year and secure UE's 8-4 victory.
Stamets went 2-for-3 with two doubles, two RBI and two stolen bases to lead Evansville offensively, while Copeland also went 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI for UE. Outfielder Cory Farris went 3-for-3 with a home run to lead Kentucky's attack.
With the victory, Evansville concludes its season-opening 13-game road trip with a 4-9 record. Kentucky, ranked as high as 19th nationally in the various collegiate baseball polls, meanwhile suffers its first home loss of the season and falls to 10-2 overall with the loss. Evansville will now return home to the confines of Charles H. Braun Stadium this weekend to host Morehead State, Le Moyne and Purdue in the annual Dunn Hospitality Diamond Classic. Diamond Classic play will begin at 11:00 a.m. Friday morning with Purdue and Le Moyne doing battle, before UE will take the diamond at 3:00 p.m. against Morehead State in the home opener.
OTHER SCORES AROUND THE VALLEY:
No. 21 Wichita State 8, Central Arkansas 2
Creighton 11, UT-Arlington 5
SEMO 12, Missouri State 11